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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



foam, aluminum, fatigue, finite element modeling, material testing


The study investigates the behavior open cell aluminum foam in scenarios applicable to potential use in structural applications. Behavior was examined through mechanical testing, computer modeling and analytic expressions. Existing assumptions about the foam characteristics that define the elastic properties were expanded to include contributions of axial and shear deformations in addition to bending and were rewritten in terms of the axial and bending stiffness ratios of ligaments. Compressive and tensile tests were performed to gain a measure of the elastic properties of the foam as well as the behavior and failure mechanisms in both loading conditions. The materials used in testing were manufactured and supplied by ERG Duocel with defined porosities of 20 and 40 ppi and relative density of 6-8%. Fatigue tests were performed on open cell foam samples to determine the strain to fatigue life relationship for the material at high applied strain amplitudes. Finally, finite element models were created in ADINA for both ordered and random networks. The changes in elastic properties due to relative density, defined by ligament geometry, cell anisotropy and joint connectivity were measured for ordered networks, while irregular, random networks were used to investigate the forces developed within ligaments. Conclusions from this study provide insight on the behavior of open cell foam and promote further research in an effort to determine the viability of structural use of the material.


First Advisor

Sanjay R. Arwade